Giant fire burns at former steel facility in upstate New York

Courtesy: WIVB
Courtesy: WIVB

LACKAWANNA, N.Y. (WIVB) — More than 200 firefighters and emergency personnel have responded to a massive fire at a former steel facility in upstate New York.

The Bethlehem Steel site occupies nearly six city blocks.

City of Lackawanna Development Director Fred Heinle said 60 to 70 percent of the building was occupied.

He said there are boats, trailer and other vehicles inside. Heinle said there is also plastic warehousing facility on site that could be causing the black smoke.

“Stay at home, and don’t come down here. There are more important thing for the police and fire to take care of versus asking people to back up,” Heinle said.

Buffalo Fire Commissioner Garnell Whitfied said his department is assisting with the fire. He added it is a complicated scene and firefighters cannot yet go inside the building because it is not structurally sound and that parts of several buildings are collapsing.

“This is obviously something that’s not the norm for us. This is something very different,” Whitfield said.

Officials said a shelter is in place for those near the site.

Students and staff from a nearby elementary school has been moved to a high school.